A Humanist Memorial

Good afternoon everyone, and thank you so much for joining us today.

We are here today, not to grieve or to mourn, but to remember and celebrate the life of (Departed) and to bring consolation to those of his/her family and friends who are here. Our ceremony will be short and simple, in keeping with what (Departed) would have wanted.

Opening Comments may vary. A couple of options are below.

Option 1:
(Departed)’s premature death is most tragic and is bound to bring shock and sorrow to those who loved and befriended him. When people we love are taken from our midst too soon, we struggle to deal with their absence. Those who feel deeply will grieve deeply. No philosophy or religion ever taught can prevent this wholly natural reaction of the human heart.

Though it is natural for us to grieve that (Departed) and (Partner) will not now enjoy the satisfaction of growing old together, let us think today about the happy years and the good times.

Option 2
It is natural that we should be sad today, because in a practical sense (Departed) is no longer a part of our lives. But we should not grieve—to live a good and fulfilling life for _____ years, with only the last ____ marred by being bed ridden, and then to die in one’s own home, is something to be thankful for.


Prelude to Eulogy

I don’t think there is anyone here who does not feel enriched by having known (Departed). S/he will be remembered as a husband/wife, father/mother, father/mother-in-law, a grandfather/mother, and a friend. His/her influence lives on in the unending consequences that flow from his/her life and character.

Death is as natural as life: only Nature is permanent. All that has life has its beginning and end . . . and life exists in the time span between birth and death. For those of us who do not have a religious faith, and who believe that death may bring the end of individual existence, life’s significance lies in the experiences and satisfactions we achieve in that span of time; its permanence lies in the memories of those who knew us, and any influence we have left behind. The wonder and love that packed (Departed)’s life will live in the memories of his family and friends.

While I didn't know (Departed), I feel through the stories her family has told that he would appreciate the following poem by A. Price Hughes.
If I should die and leave you here awhile,
Be not like others, sore undone, who keep
Long vigil by the silent dust and weep.
For my sake turn to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
Something to comfort weaker hearts than thine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine,
And I, perchance, may therein comfort you.

Inevitably you will find the world a poorer place without (Departed), but it will always be a richer place because he was once in it. There never has been and never will be anyone in the world like (Departed), and he will live in your memories always. (Departed) leaves behind (list of family members).


A personalized eulogy will go here. It will be tailored to the individual after meeting with family and friends for approximately a one-hour discussion.

Optional comments/remembrances from audience or 2nd speaker

Optional Song may be sung here

Some choose Amazing Grace but it can be anything or an instrumental.

Moment of Reflection

Let us now take a moment to reflect upon the life of (Departed) and how s/he has impacted our own lives.

Closing Words (these may vary)

As fall is soon upon us it might be a good time to reflect on autumn. Those beautifully colored leaves are more useful than they seem. Although in final glory they fall to the ground in a wistful descent of death, the fertile earth pays them tribute. She embraces their forms and turns their hidden energies into the evolution of new life. In the drama of human life, a similar pattern prevails. The thoughts and ideals of those we admire survive death. They fall on the fertile earth of our minds and our hearts and renew our lives through inspiration.

Potential Conclusions

Option 1
And we close with: Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Option 2
In sadness for her death but with appreciation for her life, we remember Nadine and her talent for joy and love. Finally, as we leave to continue our own voyage of discovery in the world, let us listen to these lines which I again feel reflect Nadine’s spirit by Joyce Grenfell.

If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower or inscribe a stone,
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must,
Parting is hell,
But life goes on
So sing as well.

Thank you for coming today. The family requests that you join them at their home. May the memory of (Departed), whom we loved in life and still love in death, continue to enlighten our thoughts and actions.